Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.
Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.
Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.
As a big Philippa Gregory fan, I was very curious about her first venture into the world of the Young Adult novel. I absolutely adore her work, especially her historical novels, and I wasn’t sure what to expect of the Changeling. But I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. It is an intriguing novel that takes the reader to 15th century Italy, and a young boy named Luca who is not yet fully ordained in the priesthood. He is hired by a mysterious Order to make inquiries at Abbeys, Monasteries etc. and right some of the wrongs in Christendom.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Young Adult novel, and I have to admit that it exceeded my expectations. It was quite an indepth and sophisticated novel, much more than I thought it would be, and the use of language was a whole lot more complicated than I had expected. Maybe it was wrong of me to assume otherwise, but I did expect a different kind of vocabulary. The writing style was very recognisable for a Philippa Gregory novel, yet it was slightly different from what she normally writes. Not all of her novels are based on real people, but up until now all her historical novels have been. It was nice to see a story based around fictional characters in a period setting, and she pulled it off very well. I finished the book in less than a day, and it kept me wanting more from beginning to end. And even though I don’t belong to the target audience for this book, I am eagerly awaiting the second part of this series!